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Religious, Civic Leaders Form 'Keep America Safe: Win Without War'

December 11, 2002, WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A broad coalition of leaders of religious and civic organizations announced here today the launching of a movement titled "Keep America Safe: Win Without War."

They will seek to bring the case of alternative action to stop Iraqi militarism without resorting to American militarism.  Coalition members, who include National Council of Churches General Secretary Bob Edgar and Jim Wallis of Sojourners, asserted that they are "patriotic Americans who share the belief that Saddam Hussein cannot be allowed to possess weapons of mass destruction.

"We support rigorous UN weapons inspections to assure Iraq's effective disarmament," they said.  "We believe that a preemptive military invasion of Iraq will harm American national interests.   Unprovoked war will increase human suffering, arouse animosity toward our country, increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks, damage the economy and undermine our moral standing in the world.  It will make us less, not more, secure."

Dr. Edgar said, "This group represents many of us in the United States who continue to question the rush to war with Iraq."   Here is the organizing statement for the group:

"KEEP AMERICA SAFE WIN WITHOUT WAR"

"We are patriotic Americans who share the belief that Saddam Hussein cannot be allowed to possess weapons of mass destruction. We support rigorous UN weapons inspections to assure Iraq's effective disarmament.

"We believe that a preemptive military invasion of Iraq will harm American national interests. Unprovoked war will increase human suffering, arouse animosity toward our country, increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks, damage the economy and undermine our moral standing in the world. It will make us less, not more, secure.

"We reject the doctrine -- a reversal of long-held American tradition - that our country, alone, has the right to launch first-strike attacks. America is not that kind of country.

"We can achieve the valid U.S. and UN objective of disarming Saddam Hussein through legal diplomatic means. There is no need for war. Let us instead devote our resources to improving the security and well being of people here at home and around the world."

"As the Bush Administration prepares for battle, religious, civil rights and citizen organizations have banded together to promote disarming Iraq without war."

Founding members include the National Council of Churches, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Move On, the National Organization for Women, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Rainbow Push Coalition, Sojourners, Women’s Action for New Directions, and Working Assets.

"Keep America Safe" plans to work closely with United for Peace - the leading grassroots coalition organizing against war, Dr. Edgar said. It will also engage Hollywood entertainers, policy experts and members of Congress in the campaign to prevent war and counter the doctrine of military preemption.  The goal is to mobilize a broad cross section of American society, joining together in declaring together, there is no need for war.

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